The Balsam Fir Tree — It’s an Herb!


    The Balsam Fir Tree, an herb?  Yes! According to The Herb Society of America’s New Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses, the term refers to “a …range of plants. In addition to herbaceous perennials, herbs include trees, shrubs, annuals, vines and more primitive plants…They… are valued for their flavor, fragrance, medicinal and healthful qualities, economic and industrial uses, pesticidal properties, and coloring materials….” (Brown, 18).  The International Herb Society researches and names a particular herb every year that they determine outstanding in at least two of three categories: culinary, medicinal or ornamental.  We think it will be nominated in the future.

    The Balsam Fir Tree has many valuable uses. First, the Balsam Fir Tree is a source of pulp. Second, it is ornamental. With its spherical shape, it is used as a natural Christmas decoration. Third, the oily resin from the blisters on its trunk has industrial applications.  Fourth, its needles, when distilled, have medicinal properties.

    However, it is another attribute of the Balsam Fir Tree that makes this tree an outstanding herb.  Balsam Fir Tree needles, when ground, have delightful and uplifting, aromatic properties.

    Not everyone can grow the softwood Balsam Fir Tree in the United States to process it for pulp or its resin for industrial applications.  The Balsam Fir Tree of the Adirondack Mountains of the State of New York is indigenous to the northeast United States and Canada.  Facilities to ground the wood into pulp or extract its resin are not found throughout the country.  Not everyone will make the choice to have use a Balsam Fir Tree in lieu of, say, a Douglas Fir Tree for Christmas, nor will everyone choose to make natural medicine.

    But we at North Country Herbs think that nearly everyone should be able to enjoy the natural aroma of the ground needles of the Balsam Fir Tree.  North Country Herbs offers Balsam Bags, which contain the aromatic needles of this herb.  The Tree is grown, and the bag is crafted, in America. The pouch fits in your hand so that you can easily squeeze it and experience the scent of the Balsam Fir Tree — as if you were taking a walk through the woods of the Adirondacks, happened upon the tip of the stem of the Balsam Fir Tree, ran your fingers around the needles and took a breath.